Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

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Pausing to read political bumper stickers on a car in the Casablanca parking lot.

This particular one cracked us up.

Mesquite, Nevada.

March 2011 

Make some new friends by linking up!  Just make sure you have a Sunday Snapshot (it can be a photo of just about anything you like) and a link back to me on your fabulous post.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BluSilver Photo

This is photo I took of my brother's colloidal silver product.
We did this water shoot at photo club a few weeks ago, and it was fun to do! We used a water tank, a white backdrop and a few lights to get this right.

I had to drop the bottle about 20 times before I got this perfect shot.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Making a Good Brain Great

" The mind is it's own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
-John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667)

 I love all of Daniel G. Amen's books, and this one is no exception.  I am fascinated with the human brain.  Our entire experience of life is only what we use our minds to interpret it to be.  In other words, it (life) really is all in your head.  In order to live my happiest, fullest life, I want my brain to be working at it's maximum potential, and this book is a fantastic guide for that.

One of the principles in this book is: Very few people have perfect brains.  We all need a little help.  He goes on to say, A quick look at some of the statistics on mental illness will put to rest anyone's notion that the vast majority of people are without pain....49% of the U.S. population at some point in their lives will suffer from a psychiatric (brain) illness, most commonly anxiety, depression, or substance abuse.  29% will have 2 psychiatric illnesses, and 17% will have three.  Millions of people suffer, yet many think that others have it better.  Most people have no idea how lucky they really are.  It is normal to have struggles, and it is better to count your blessings than to feel messed up....we now believe that normal is a myth and healthy brains are actually rare.  There are very few healthy brains among us.  We all need a little help.  This idea is actually comforting to me.  It lessens judgment, because it is hard to say "I am better than you." It helps us see that brain health is fragile and must be taken seriously.  And as a society, we need to make brain health a priority. 

 That being said, here are a few of the things I took away from this book that really can be applied to my life:

-Brain Gym.  This is a series of exercises designed to help overall brain functioning. You can find out more about about it at, and Amen's book has a few examples of the exercises.

-Therapy for thoughts helps improve brain function.  Change your thoughts, change your brain.

-Improving your relationships can change your brain.

-Changing your behavior also changes your brain.

Here are 5 steps he gives to help improve your brain and life:

1. Do not believe every first thought you have.  just because you had a thought about something, it doesn't make it true.  Question your thoughts (To learn how to do this well, try Bryon Katie's book Loving What Is) Believe it or not, we are not always right.  Change your perception, change your brain.

2.Realize that your thoughts are extraordinarily powerful.  Every time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals.  Good thoughts produce chemicals that help you have better functioning, and make you feel good.  Bad thoughts do the opposite.  Learn to be positive.

3.Recognize that thoughts lie, are easily distorted, and can rob you of joy.  Amen recommends writing down your thought when you feel sad, mad, or nervous.  Writing them down takes away their power, and allows you to replace them with more helpful thoughts.

4.Use the Placebo Effect.  As we believe, so it becomes.

5. Tell your brain what you want, and match your behavior to get it.  "Since your mind takes what it sees and makes it happen, it is crucial to visualize what you want and then match your behavior over time to get it.  Too many people are are thrown around by the whims of the day, rather than using their prefrontal cortex to plan their lives and follow through on their goals."

Probably my favorite thing form this book was the author's advice to try new things.  Try new sports, perfumes, classes, books, anything new is good. 

Amen also gives an 11 step (uh..why not 12?) plan to de-stressing your life, and I think this is all just great advice.

1. Recognize that too much stress can make you sick and hurt your brain.

2. It's okay to say no and renegotiate you commitments.

3. Get enough sleep.

4.Regular exercise is one of the best stress-busters on the planet.

5. Use regular prayer and/or meditation

6. Practice self-hypnosis to calm the brain.

7.Become your own biofeedback machine.

8. Avoid substances that stress the brain.

9.Consider stress-busting supplements.

10. See a psychotherapist if you're chronically stressed 

11.Get more laughter into your life. 

Maybe number 12 should be "read this book".  He goes into detail with each of these steps.  There is so much more great information in "Making a Good Brain Great", what can I tell you except, read it.  Chances are,you'll be glad you did.  This book is just amazing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Free Education

I found THIS WEBSITE , linked through the Salt Lake County Libraries... I only needed my email to sign up, so I'm wondering if anyone can register...(Okay, update: apparently it's free through certain local libraries.  Visit yours to see if they participate.  If they don't, it's $189/year and you can take up to 5 classes at a time, and work at your own pace)  These are FREE online classes- the selection here is incredible.  I've signed up for and have started Sewing 101, and there are so many other classes I'm interested in I feel like a drooling kid in a candy store trying to decide what to take next.

I am amazed at the amount of information we have available at our fingertips living in this modern society. I feel like I have no excuse at all for ignorance.  If something breaks, I go to Youtube and ask how to fix it, and ta-da! there it is! Someone to show me exactly how to fix Nathaniel's DS when the screen is blank but the light turns green for a moment after the power is turn on.  And when I don't know how to do something on photoshop? I just do a Google search, and ask, specifically, for the information I need. And then, there it is, right in front of me.  And if my kids need me while I'm watching, all I have to do is pause it, and come back when it's convenient. It is incredible miraculous, really, when I think of how many people have lived on this earth throughout history with no opportunity for education.and here we are, with the whole world at our fingertips.   

The whole wide world.

It's almost too easy. 
All we have to do is say, 'yes', and reach out to accept what is being offered to us. 

We are so lucky.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Captain Jack Crunch

I wake up to the sound of Jack crying, and silently beg for him to go back to sleep.  I was up 3 times in the night with him, and I'm exhausted IT'S SPRING BREAK FOR PETE'S SAKE I DON'T HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE OR DO ANYTHING THAT REQUIRES A 7:35 AM WAKE UP CALL, child.  Let me sleep.

The wailing continues.

That sleep thing just isn't going to happen.
I rescue him from his crib, which we keep in the closet.  It's a closet with a heating vent, two outlets, and a large window, but a closet nonetheless.  What can I say?  I don't have the heart to move him to the Land of Far, Far Away (upstairs, where the terrible parents of this house make the older children sleep), and, yet, I just don't want him right next to me, screaming all night and early in the morning.  I need my space.

The wailing escalates.

I drag my weary body out of my lusciously warm bed, and head to the closet.  Jack's wailing stops immediately and his face lights up with a grin when he sees me.
"Good Morning!" I pull up the blinds and tell him the same thing I do every day, "It's morning now.  Good morning. This is the time to be awake."

I say this because I read a book on how to get your child to sleep through the night, and that is supposed to help.  It obviously isn't working with Jack.  Damn sleep experts. I should have just spent that time napping instead of reading.

What? You'd be cussing, too, if you hadn't had more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep in the last year and a half.

 I change his super soggy diaper, and we head to the kitchen, maneuvering through the gauntlet of Kix and Cheerios on the floor.There are some nights where I'm just too tired to clean the kitchen after dinner, and last night was one of them.

I think about allowing the dog to come inside and clean my floor for me, but decide it's just not an option since she would probably wind up killing the cat, and we need the cat around to kill the mice and keep grandma company.  Still, I think about it some more, and give Jack more Kix to catapult across the room.

Crunch, crunch.

This is sound of walking on my kitchen floor today.

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

I heat up some pears and oatmeal for the baby, and London joins us for breakfast.  Cocoa Puffs for her, in our Noah's Ark bowl.  Cocoa Puffs are chocolaty, but actually have less sugar than even most of the 'healthy' cereals on the store shelf. This is how I justify buying them, because feeding your kids chocolate for breakfast somehow needs justification, I know.

Crunch, crunch.

This is the sound of my children eating.
The sound makes me think about letting my dog in again.  I resist the impulse.

I cook two eggs for myself, over easy, and am sure to grease the pan with the canola oil spray in the green can before cracking the shells.

I feed Jack his pears while they cook.  Big bites.  He rips his bib off, and it joins the mess on the ceramic tile.  Feeding an 8 month old becomes a whole new kind of challenge when there is no bib left to shield his clothing from whatever Gerber mush is on the menu; this is why we wait until after breakfast to get dressed. He flashes his charming grin, showing off all his new teeth.  He reaches out a dimpled hand and pinches one of the small golden balls left on his high chair tray between his thumb and pointer finger and brings it carefully to his mouth.

Crunch, crunch, baby.  

Crunch, crunch.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Enjoying General Conference in the best way possible.

April 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rapunzel Herself

 "If you have an impulse to do something, and it's not totally irresponsible, why not do it?  It might just be the journey you've always needed." -Timothy Hutton

 To celebrate the release of one of Disney's best princess films of all time, we held a Tangled celebration.  The party lasted an entire week, and, honestly, I don't remember most of it .
My friend Stephanie made these fantastic decorations.  I'm so lucky she hooked me up!  These were way better than anything I could have bought at the store.  (Thanks, Stephanie )

 We had great food, awesome company, and a special guest of honor- Rapunzel, herself!  I have a really cute friend (Marcie), who has all sorts of great connections to REAL Disney princesses.  And from time to time, those princesses make stops in our neighborhood.  And mom's can even get them to come to their castle -or tower- to visit, or do "princess tuck-ins" (where they'll read to your little one and then tuck them in bed....soooo magical)

Her custom made costume was incredible; the details so ornate.

I cannot even tell you how impressed I was with Rapunzel.  After meeting her, I am convinced that she is the real life version of the princess!  She looked like Rapunzel, talked like her, moved, and posed like her, and didn't miss a beat while visiting with the crowd of girls that attended.  She knew the answer to every question, took time to make every girl feel special, and even brought along a toy Pascal in her brown leather satchel.  It was awesome!

It's obvious how enthralled the girls were with Rapunzel- look at their starstruck expressions.

Even the boys couldn't pass up this opportunity to mingle with Disney royalty. 
  "I do not know who you are, nor how I came to find you, but may I just say...hi, how you doin'?"
We took pictures of each girl with Rapunzel.  Notice how she wraps her braid around was such a 'Tangled' thing to do!

I could go running and racing and dancing and chasing and leaping and bounding hair flying, heart pounding and splashing and reeling and finally feeling now's when my life begins!

You smell that? It's part man-smell, and the other part is really bad man-smell, but overall it just smells like the color brown.  Your thoughts?

 I could get used to a view like this.  Yep, I'm used to it.  Guys, I want a bounce house.

"Go, live your dream."  "I will."  "Your dream stinks.  I was talking to her."

Look in that mirror.  I see a strong, confident, beautiful young lady.  Oh look, you're here too.
All these ladies are gorgeous inside and out! We were a large group, and yet I wanted to invite so many more of our friends.  

 If you live in the Provo/Orem, Salt lake, or Phoenix, Az. areas and are interested in having a princess visit your little ones, just leave me a comment requesting more information. 

  My kids are growing up so fast...way too fast.  Within another year or two, the age of 'magic' will be only a memory. It's such a great thing to get together with people you love, and enjoy the good things in life together.  I'm so glad I did this.

"It's only when we truly know that we have a limited time on earth- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up - that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it [were] the only one we had. - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

P.S. While writing this, guess what I found? There is a Disney Wiki... who knew, right?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

The kids are overjoyed to be reunited with their cousin Alexander,
and enjoy celebrating his 4th birthday with him.

March 2011